Last week I spoke at two conferences across the US. I got to meet many folks in the human capital space – both from the industry as well as consultants, coaches, and trainers. I spoke about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and why now–during this decade–and in the context of all the changes I wrote about last year (recession, globalization, tech, and generations), EQ is the right competency to focus on. One of the more frequently asked questions I get is whether we can actually increase our EQ.
The answer is an unequivocal YES. Unlike your IQ or personality traits that get defined early and then remain relatively stable throughout your life, we can not only grow our EQ, but we can actually accelerate that growth. Is it possible to be 30 years old and have the emotional maturity of a 40 year old? Of course it is. We all know people like that. You yourself may have been accused of being “mature for your age” at one point or another. Can this accelerated growth be orchestrated? Yes and in fact, it is already happening.
At EQmentor, we use statistically validated instruments to measure our mentees’ EQ both before and after their program. A two-year study that was just concluded by EQmentor showed an average increase of about 17 points in EQ score for all mentees between their before and after assessments. To put that into context, other studies have shown that the average adult human being only grows their EQ by 3 points a year when we leave it up to passive growth — that is, when this growth is solely based on processing the cumulative experiences that have occurred during that one year. Said in another way, working professionals that use the EQmentor program will emotionally mature 6 times faster than they otherwise would in a year. Said in yet another way, a 30-year-old can naturally grow by 3 EQ points by the time they turn 31, or they can accelerate that growth and have the maturity of a 36-year-old when they turn 31, according to this study.
Dozens of studies have previously shown positive correlations between high EQ and various performance metrics such as higher sales, higher productivity, higher employee engagement, customer satisfaction, etc. So we already know higher EQ is preferable over lower EQ. But what is the secret to getting higher EQ? Simply put, it is capturing more and more learning moments as they naturally occur in a safe environment 24/7 and having access to human knowledge (in all its forms – a person, a community, or a knowledge repository) over the course of that year. This is quite possibly the most significant measured improvement in the professional development space in decades.
We all wish we had the wisdom we have now back when we were younger. Why? Because life and our finite time on this earth are better valued when we are leading substantively healthier lives and relationships – at home and at work. Accelerating one’s growth is now possible; how can this not be one of the more important priorities of a manager or leader?